A showcase of Australian Children's Book Illustrators who have appeared in the Industry Newsletter PASS IT ON
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
What's this illustration for?
This illustration is for an English curriculum project for young teens. It is an illustration from a book, The Life of Pi & is for Folens Publishing U.K
Do you have to wait for a flash of inspiration - how do you start?
Images generally rush into my head whenever I start a new project, I then put down some rough sketches & work from the best of them.
I illustrate a lot of historical books for children, so often have a lot of research to do to get all the details correct. It is always time well spent because I learn a lot about the subject matter before I begin to draw.
How did you get your start as an illustrator?
I started by being trained as a fashion illustrator & worked in London for many years, but when photos took over from illustrations, I adapted my style to children’s books. I already had quite good figure drawing skills from my fashion work, but all my figures looked about 8 feet tall, so I had to moderate everything from my extravagant fashion style!
Who or what has influenced your work?
I have been inspired by Arthur Rackham for atmosphere & Michael Foreman for his wonderful watercolour style.
Also , as a child I spent many hours looking down a microscope. I found that gave me a sense of looking more closely at everything I observed & it nurtured my visual awareness.
What's your favourite media for creating pictures?
My favourite media is watercolour, inks & pencil.
Do you experience illustrator's block - if so, what do you do about it?
If I get blocked I leave the drawing board & do some displacement activity, i.e go for a walk, play tennis, dig the garden or have a good old whinge to somebody who understands the process. I usually come back refreshed & ready to go again. The flow doesn’t always come immediately & sometimes I take a while to get the feel of a project.
What's the worst thing about being a freelancer?
The worst thing about being a freelancer is the insecurity & not being able to plan too far ahead. I never know what is coming next, but that also has an element of excitement about it, so there is a positive way of looking at it.
Also there is a lot of pressure on occasions to produce your best within a very tight deadline, but I get better with experience.
Lastly, I am my own business manager, so I have to pull lots of strands together to be successful. It can be exhausting!
And the best?
The best thing about being a freelancer is the freedom, working from home, the peace & of course the delight in being able to express myself creatively & earn a reasonable living from it.
I also get pleasure from working on educational books & to know that children may get some positive stimulation from the illustrations.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’m working on a book about ancient Egypt & a reader for young Nigerian children published by Pearson U.K